Yup, that’s it: the formula for success.
It’s been a turbulent month. Things have started happening; not by themselves, but happening nevertheless. One month ago I attended a coaching event where I spontaneously signed up for a one-year coaching course worth way too much money considering the amount of research I’d done for it – none, but I blame it on being sick (I ended up withdrawing my application a few days later). I finally got myself a membership with a nearby yoga studio and decided to get back into my daily yoga practice as my neck, shoulders and most importantly mind needed it. It hasn’t really worked out to the extent that I was hoping for, but something’s better than nothing, right? In the meantime I did my very best to act an IT wizard and get my head around what was going on with the blog; all the things that could go wrong did so and oh my that was a test on my patience, but that feeling when I finally got it published on Valentine’s Day… I’m just a little proud of myself! Had you asked me one year ago I would never have expected to have my own website.
I also applied for a few jobs and was offered one in a cocktail bar in a five-star hotel in downtown Sydney. I started last week and had my first shift – oh my am I really doing this? Second, third, fourth – how in the world did I end up working in a bar?! Fifth – wow, I’m getting better at it!
If I think about it I guess I always knew, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that waitressing from 5 pm to 1 or 2 am depending on the day five days a week is not my thing (you know that ‘thing’ of mine that I’ve always been looking for, where am I supposed to be and what am I supposed to do?). While some days where good, others were not, but I stuck to it. Give it a shot, they said, it is a good place to be. You’ve been off for six months now and have had all the time in the world to do whatever you want, but now those days are over. Working 8-10 hours a day and trying to get good nights’ sleep leaves you 6-8 hours for doing yoga, getting groceries, cooking, eating, writing, going to cafés, showering, getting ready for work… while I’m still in a hostel I don’t have to worry about cleaning, but nevertheless that’s not a lot of time. Maybe you just haven’t gotten used to it yet and there’s no way in the world that you can be a pro at something that you’ve never done before so give it some time, give it a few weeks. Oh, dad…
I worked Tuesday through Saturday, and went back again this Tuesday. On Wednesday morning my friend Isabel told me that I look like shit, and she was right. Not only did I look like shit but I felt like shit, too. My eye bags kept growing darker and darker and even though I’d noticed that the ache in my lower back and feet no longer showed up as early in the evening as it had during my first week, my whole body was tired and tense. What worried me the most, however, was my overly exhausted mind.
Is this what I came here to do? Is this how I want to spend my time in Australia? I am a morning person!
My frustration started piling up and I was everything but excited. From super busy and stressful one day to boringly quiet the other (but you still had to look like you were doing something useful), the days were different yet similar. I’d take the train at 4.30 pm and run to work, pick up my dress, get changed and run to the bar. Once my shift was over I’d hurry home as quickly as possible to get as long a night of sleep as possible. No matter how hard I tried, however, it’d easily be 2 am before I was in bed. I’d set my alarm for 9 am (if not even earlier to take a yoga class, which never happened) to have breakfast before 10 am (free breakfast), so if I was lucky I’d get seven hours of sleep. That would never happen, though, as I’d seldom be in bed before 2.30 am and would always, always, set my alarm to get up early to make sure I’d have as much of the day as possible for doing stuff, which obviously wouldn’t happen because I was too tired.
Resulting from this never-ending battle against the clock I’d be constantly frustrated and stressed for not having time to do what I wanted. My whole week revolved around work and I did not like it. It was too much.
Anna, you look like shit. You need to quit your job, I’ve never seen you like this.
Waking up at 4.30 pm last Sunday made me think things through and, in combination with the above compliment by Isabel, realize that it’s not for me. It is not the right place for me, and when did I ever want to work in a bar anyways? It kind of brings me back to year 2011 at the Student Union, and well… no, thanks.
So I resigned. Tonight is my last shift, and as could be expected, Thursday and Friday, although very busy, were a lot more enjoyable than any day so far. My Italian colleague called me a ‘veteran already’; I felt more routined, more independent and way more confident. Also, I found myself really enjoying the company of some of my colleague not to mention the customers. I had so many fun conversations about Australia and Finland, my accent (’Where’s that accent from?’ … ’You’re not from Canada, are you?’ … ’Oh, I’ve been to Finland, I’ve been to Oulu’ … Whaat!), their accents, what I’m doing here and if I’m liking it and what my plan is, how long I’ll stay, in English and German and Spanish, too, believe it or not!
I even got a few recommendations on locations for the three months of farm work that I need to do in order to get my 2nd year visa, and those are always more than welcome. Best of all, though, a British couple I served a few nights ago asked one of my colleagues ’for the Finnish girl’ last night when they came in. How nice was that!?
(Did I make a mistake by resigning??!)
Sadly, now, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s still a bar and it’s still the night shift. I came to Australia to live a simple yet inspiring and fun yet healthy life. At times this might be inspiring and fun, but it’s definitely not simple and for sure not healthy, so I resigned. For the first time in my life I resigned with no other reason to do so other than the simple fact that it’s not what I’m looking for, it’s not for me. No leaving town, no other job (yet). I do have a few job opportunities in the loop but for now that’s it, that’s all.
Despite my mixed feelings I must say that I’m quite proud of myself.
Settle for nothing but spectacular, right?